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A poem for Jeff Phelps

As Keith Chandler is not on facebook so I can’t nominate him to do this 5 day poem thing – I thought my fifth poem would be one of his… It is from his Fair Acre Press poetry pamphlet called “The Grandpa Years “. He is reading at Ludlow’s “The Poetry Lounge” on Tuesday 7th July at The Blue Boar, Mill St Ludlow, 7:30 pm start; as am I – an honour for me to be in the same billing !!


Jeff Phelps – I know you know this one ! You are another poet I really admire and am always shocked at how good your poems are… Don’t get too carried away with writing novels !!!! May I dedicate this to you? xx

Old Man at the Gym                                          Keith Chandler
Look at you – puffed out, man boobs juggling
without the benefit of a sports bra,
trying to keep up with that bronze god
gliding beside you, marking time
as on the eternal round of some Etruscan jar –
where do you think you’re going?
Careful you don’t give yourself a heart attack
as behind you in the wall sized mirror
some pony tailed leotard
climbing onto the weights bench
with thighs astraddle leans back…
Idiot! Do you think she notices you –
dribbler creeping in and out of the Gents?
If she does it is inwardly to smile
at the paunched posture, tonsure patch
which with a Number 2 crop you hope to disguise.
With your iPod, your Nikes, your Go Faster stripes
who do you think you’re kidding?
Row hard as you can, shrunk shanks trembling,
you will never turn the river back uphill.
Ride those pedals; rising out of the saddle
and peleton, surmount the Col de Ventoux
in some fantastic Tour de France –
old man, you are going nowhere fast.
Pound the rolling runway, you will never outrace
one who (like the skeleton
inside you, fit as death)
will be waiting with something like a grin
and thermal blanket when, far from plaudits
or medals, finally you run out of breath.

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